We’ve been working hard to get the latest version of CozmoTV out and as always, we’ve begun to focus on what’s next. As you have seen, we’ve made a pretty fundamental decision about widgets and the role they will play in the future of CozmoTV. In short, we are looking at widgets as our primary delivery platform.
I think that widgets represent a pretty profound change in how people will use the web. I think it represents the visual manifestation of the semantic web that Berners-Lee has been talking about for some time now. The web is becoming a platform in which different applications and content coexist across multiple sites. I think it is the first glimpse of what the web looks like post webpage. Facebook’s recent API release and the richness of the applications already appearing are a further clue.
In my mind, widgets are simply a distributed application, as simple or as complex as you want to make it. Rather than look at the web as a collection of pages, widgets start to help us see the web as a collection of applications. They are built on standards that easy integration with other applications (RSS being the most obvious example). But they are not intended to be a destination, but rather the encapsulation of functionality and content, or maybe just one or the other. CozmoTV looks at the widget as the destination in and of itself. No need to ever go back to cozmo.tv, just do everything relevant right from the widget.
I think this is a basic evolution in how the web works and how people interact with the web. Increasingly as people look to syndicate content and functionality out across the all of these sites, they are beginning to shape the semantic web. Syndication requires standards, especially in the integration of function. This is going to be good for people like Pageflakes and Netvibes and Facebook, who are all looking to shape what those underlying standards look like. Rather than build your own social network and chat and everything else, piggyback on the site in which you are embedded to supply context and community...
Anyway, I believe that widgets represent a fundamental shift in how the web is going to function over the next decade. We’re in the very early stages, but over the next 18 months to impact is going to start becoming much more obvious, especially as standards beyond RSS begin to take shape. It’s really exciting.